Suman Nag and his team, from NGO Seeds India, are in Uttarakhand to assist the locals and stranded tourists following the devastating June 16 flash floods. Here are the live updates from him:
Chandrapuri in Rudraprayag district has been severely affected by June 16 floods. Houses, roads, schools and small bridges have been completely washed away at several locations. The small town/village is today struggling to even get basic provisions.
Several families have lost their assets (houses, farmlands, livestock) and are now presently sustaining with the help of friends and relatives. Most livelihoods have been badly hit as the Char Dham Yatra season has come to an end.
With no basic provisions, stress on livelihoods, loss of houses and schools, Chandrapuri village/town is struggling to cope with the intermittent government relief. Access to the village is difficult and involves long treks.
Yoshoda Devi`s house in Chakka Village, Augustmuni, Rudraprayag district, collapsed on the day floods affected the village on June 16. She, along with her daughter and son, ran up the hill as the house collapsed. She had to call two more people to carry her husband, who often stays ill and is physically weak. They returned next morning and could only claim some furniture and an ID card of her son. They lost the five-room house built over 12 years, all the land they owned, cowsheds and cows.
Yoshoda Devi`s son is unemployed and the tehsildar says that since the roof is intact, it cannot be considered as damaged. The house is in no position to be occupied as the foundation continues to slide in the ongoing monsoon. The family has temporarily taken shelter in a relative`s house up the hill.
Seven-eight houses in Yoshoda Devi`s neighbourhood collapsed at the same time and each one could only save themselves.
Most of the families have no resources to rebuild and are living with meagre provisions supplied intermittently through the relief process.
Thirty-six families lost everything they had in the very river bed along Vijay Nagar, Augustyamuni Block, Rudraprayag. Most of them are presently living on borrowed clothes, shelter, with no essential documents and with a deep sense of loss, with little hope from where to restart life.
One of the affected families asked us if we could arrange land from their relatives, or if SEEDS can just build a one-room house for them.
The government is doing all to ensure supplies are in place and providing whatever the present circumstances allow them to do. The BRO (Border Roads Organisation) and GREF (General Reserve Engineering Force) are doing all it takes to restore roads. The local government is both looking at damage assessment and immediate relief.
There are certainly unmet needs with families having no clue from where to restart. There is both despair and restlessness, as a lot of families are living on borrowed clothes, shelter (friends/relatives` houses) with children out of school.
The SEEDS relief team, on its way to Govindghat, got involved in evacuation, managing relief camp and assisting families in search and rescue. The efforts were led by ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police) and the Indian Army. Most of the families rescued have been up on the hills for two weeks without any support due to massive road blocks.
In the belt of Tilwara to Chadrapuri (Rudraprayag district), almost 300 families have been affected. Most significantly, access is still difficult and supplies are limited. Most of the houses damaged were along the river.
(Suman Nag, from Seeds India, is in Uttarakhand to help with the relief and rehabilitation process.)